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Both Tough, Both Durable…Should Make For A Good Fight

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Miguel Cotto is a funny guy.

I’m not saying he could do stand-up at the Comedy Club or that he’d be great in a skit on Saturday Night Live. He’s no Steve Martin.

But he is funny in the same way a guy stumbling over a log or walking into a spider web is funny. It’s all in good fun as long as no one gets hurt.

Of course, I’m not the only guy who thinks Cotto has a pretty good sense of humor. I’m guessing WBC middleweight champ Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez of Argentina also thinks Cotto is a comedian.

The two fighters are scheduled to face each other on HBO pay-per-view on Saturday (June 7) at Madison Square Garden in New York City, and that’s where Martinez sees the real humor.

“This fight will happen because, despite (my) being the champion, I will be the first to enter the ring,” Martinez said not long after he agreed to put his title on the line against Cotto. “Because if not, Cotto wouldn’t take the fight.”

Martinez continued.

“They will also announce me first in the ring, despite my being the champion (champions are always announced last) because if not, Cotto wouldn’t take the fight.”

That Miguel Cotto. What a jokester.

Cotto, the Pride of Puerto Rico, also wanted top billing on all posters and advertising and a bigger share of the purse. Or else – you got it – he wouldn’t take the fight.

According to Martinez, those were just some of the things Cotto demanded ifhe was going to take the fight.

Now here’s where Martinez shows his humorous side.

“I imagine that (Cotto) will ask for a trail of rose petals to get into the ring (on Saturday),” Martinez said. “Or else Cotto won’t fight.”

Rose petals? That’s a good one, Serge. You’re a pretty good joke teller yourself.

“You’d have to ask the promoters about the other things Cotto wanted,” he said. “But it was ridiculous.”

I checked and there’s no truth to the rumor that Cotto insisted Martinez wear 16-ounce gloves, an eye patch and street shoes.

All joking aside, these two guys don’t seem to care too much for each other.

Martinez says he was slighted by Cotto when the two met on a TV boxing show several years ago, and Martinez hasn’t forgotten about it.

He says it wouldn’t be so bad if Cotto had just been rude to him at the TV station. Snubbing a guy you might be facing in the ring at some point in the future is just part of the fight game. It’s expected.

But Martinez says Cotto was rude to everyone he saw at the station and that makes him, well, not a nice person.

“I just didn’t like his demeanor,” Martinez said.

Sometimes a little bad demeanor is all it takes.

Martinez sounds like a guy you’d want to go have a few beers with. Cotto sounds like someone you wouldn‘t invite in out of the rain.

But like him or not, Cotto has been in the ring with some of the best (he’s a three-division world champion) and he’s a tough, durable fighter if he’s anything.

But so is Martinez, which could make for a pretty good fight.

Finally, there’s that motivation thing. Somebody pokes you in the eye with a stick enough times, you tend to grow mean and surly. If Martinez has a chip on his shoulder, Cotto put it there and made it grow.

Still, on a recent conference call, Martinez wouldn’t say anything bad about Cotto. He said the time for talking is over. It’s close to fight time and he’s focused.

How focused? He doesn’t see the fight going 12 rounds. And he sounds pretty sure of himself.

“I know Cotto is working very hard for this fight (with trainer Freddie Roach),” Martinez said from his training camp in Miami. “But there is no doubt in my mind that this will definitely be his farewell fight to what was a great career.”

Even bad-mouthing Cotto, Martinez pays him a compliment.

If you’re looking for a tiebreaker, it might be size. Cotto, a healthy welterweight or junior-middle, is naturally smaller than most of the fighters Martinez has been facing as a middleweight. That’s why the two camps agreed on one of those convenient, silly, asinine catch-weights, this one at 159 pounds.

Fortunately, the catch-weight shouldn’t be a problem for either fighter, though I’m guessing there wouldn’t be a fight if there wasn’t a catch weight of some kind.

Right Miguel?

He’s a funny guy all right.

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2015 Fight of the Year – Francisco Vargas vs Takashi Miura

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The WBC World Super Featherweight title bout between Francisco Vargas and Takashi Miura came on one of the biggest boxing stages of 2015, as the bout served as the HBO pay-per-view’s co-main event on November 21st, in support of Miguel Cotto vs Saul Alvarez.

Miura entered the fight with a (29-2-2) record and he was making the fifth defense of his world title, while Vargas entered the fight with an undefeated mark of (22-0-1) in what was his first world title fight. Both men had a reputation for all-out fighting, with Miura especially earning high praise for his title defense in Mexico where he defeated Sergio Thompson in a fiercely contested battle.

The fight started out hotly contested, and the intensity never let up. Vargas seemed to win the first two rounds, but by the fourth round, Miura seemed to pull ahead, scoring a knock-down and fighting with a lot of confidence. After brawling the first four rounds, Miura appeared to settle into a more technical approach. Rounds 5 and 6 saw the pendulum swing back towards Vargas, as he withstood Miura’s rush to open the fifth round and the sixth round saw both men exchanging hard punches.

The big swinging continued, and though Vargas likely edged Miura in rounds 5 and 6, Vargas’ face was cut in at least two spots and Miura started to assert himself again in rounds 7 and 8. Miura was beginning to grow in confidence while it appeared that Vargas was beginning to slow down, and Miura appeared to hurt Vargas at the end of the 8th round.

Vargas turned the tide again at the start of the ninth round, scoring a knock down with an uppercut and a straight right hand that took Miura’s legs and sent him to the canvas. Purely on instinct, Miura got back up and continued to fight, but Vargas was landing frequently and with force. Referee Tony Weeks stepped in to stop the fight at the halfway point of round 9 as Miura was sustaining a barrage of punches.

Miura still had a minute and a half to survive if he was going to get out of the round, and it was clear that he was not going to stop fighting.

A back and forth battle of wills between two world championship level fighters, Takashi Miura versus “El Bandido” Vargas wins the 2015 Fight of the Year.

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Jan 9 in Germany – Feigenbutz and De Carolis To Settle Score

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This coming Saturday, January 9th, the stage is set at the Baden Arena in Offenburg, Germany for a re-match between Vincent Feigenbutz and Giovanni De Carolis. The highly anticipated re-match is set to air on SAT.1 in Germany, and Feigenbutz will once again be defending his GBU and interim WBA World titles at Super Middleweight.

The first meeting between the two was less than three months ago, on October 17th and that meeting saw Feigenbutz controversially edge De Carolis on the judge’s cards by scores of (115-113, 114-113 and 115-113). De Carolis scored a flash knock down in the opening round, and he appeared to outbox Feigenbutz in the early going, but the 20 year old German champion came on in the later rounds.

The first bout is described as one of the most crowd-pleasing bouts of the year in Germany, and De Carolis and many observers felt that the Italian had done enough to win.

De Carolis told German language website RAN.DE that he was more prepared for the re-match, and that due to the arrogance Feigenbutz displayed in the aftermath of the first fight, he was confident that he had won over some of the audience. Though De Carolis fell short of predicting victory, he promised a re-vamped strategy tailored to what he has learned about Feigenbutz, whom he termed immature and inexperienced.

The stage is set for Feigenbutz vs De Carolis 2, this Saturday January 9th in Offenburg, Germany. If you can get to the live event do it, if not you have SAT.1 in Germany airing the fights, and The Boxing Channel right back here for full results.

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2015 Knock Out of the Year – Saul Alvarez KO’s James Kirkland

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On May 9th of 2015, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez delivered a resonant knock-out of James Kirkland on HBO that wins the 2015 KO of the Year.

The knock-out itself came in the third round, after slightly more than two minutes of action. The end came when Alvarez delivered a single, big right hand that caught Kirkland on the jaw and left him flat on his back after spinning to the canvas.Alvarez was clearly the big star heading into the fight. The fight was telecast by HBO for free just one week after the controversial and disappointing Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao fight, and Alvarez was under pressure to deliver the type of finish that people were going to talk about. Kirkland was happy to oblige Alvarez, taking it right to Alvarez from the start. Kirkland’s aggression saw him appear to land blows that troubled the young Mexican in the early going. Alvarez played good defense, and he floored Kirkland in the first round, displaying his power and his technique in knocking down an aggressive opponent.

However, Kirkland kept coming at Alvarez and the fight entered the third round with both men working hard and the feeling that the fight would not go the distance. Kirkland continued to move forward, keeping “Canelo” against the ropes and scoring points with a barrage of punches while looking for an opening.

At around the two minute mark, Alvarez landed an uppercut that sent Kirkland to the canvas again. Kirkland got up, but it was clear that he did not have his legs under him. Kirkland was going to try to survive the round, but Alvarez had an opportunity to close out the fight. The question was would he take it?

Alvarez closed in on Kirkland, putting his opponent’s back to the ropes. Kirkland was hurt, but he was still dangerous, pawing with punches and loading up for one big shot.

But it was the big shot “Canelo” threw that ended the night. Kirkland never saw it coming, as he was loading up with a huge right hand of his own. The right Alvarez threw cracked Kirkland in the jaw, and his eyes went blank. His big right hand whizzed harmlessly over the head of a ducking Alvarez, providing the momentum for the spin that left Kirkland prone on the canvas.

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez went on to defeat Miguel Cotto in his second fight of 2015 and he is clearly one of boxing’s biggest stars heading into 2016. On May 9th Alvarez added another reel to his highlight film when he knocked out James Kirkland with the 2015 “Knock Out of the Year”.

Photo by naoki fukuda

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